7.3/10
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63 user 22 critic

Tension (1949)

A meek pharmacist creates an alternate identity under which he plans to murder the bullying liquor salesman who has become his wife's lover.

Director:

John Berry

Writers:

Allen Rivkin (screenplay), John D. Klorer (based on the story by) (as John Klorer)
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Richard Basehart ... Warren Quimby
Audrey Totter ... Claire Quimby
Cyd Charisse ... Mary Chanler
Barry Sullivan ... Police Lt. Collier Bonnabel
Lloyd Gough ... Barney Deager
Tom D'Andrea ... Freddie
William Conrad ... Police Lt. Edgar Gonsales
Tito Renaldo Tito Renaldo ... Narco
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Storyline

A mousy drugstore manager turns killer after his conniving wife leaves him for another man. He devises a complex plan, which involves assuming a new identity, to make it look like someone else murdered her new boyfriend. Things take an unexpected turn when someone else commits the murder first and he becomes the prime suspect. Written by Daniel Bubbeo <dbubbeo@cmp.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

The hard-hitting story of a man with a plan...REVENGE! See more »


Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

25 November 1949 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

O agnostos eihe diplo allothi See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$682,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM) See more »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

When Richard Basehart's character of Quimby decides to create another identity for himself, he gets the idea for the name Sothern when he sees a movie fan magazine with Ann Sothern on the cover. "Tension" producer Robert Sisk was then in the process of prepping Shadow on the Wall (1950) to star Miss Sothern in the last film of her long-term MGM contract. See more »

Goofs

Near the end, Warren Quimby puts both his hands in his pockets while facing the camera and talking. Then, in a reverse shot from behind, he is seen with his hands out of his pockets and putting them in again. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Lt. Collier Bonnabel: I'm Collier Bonnabel. I'm a cop. I'm a Lieutenant Detective in, uh, Homicide. That's a fancy name for murder. We get plenty of tough cases. Solve most of 'em, sure. But how?
[begins to stretch and relax a rubber band]
Lt. Collier Bonnabel: I only know one way, one thing that breaks 'em wide open - tension. I work on people, on suspects. Play up to them. Play up to their strengths, pour it on their weaknesses. Romance 'em or ignore 'em. Kiss 'em. Press 'em. But whatever way, keep stretching them.
[...]
See more »

Connections

Referenced in American Grindhouse (2010) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Excellent mid-century melodrama
13 March 2005 | by RipshinSee all my reviews

Although a bit noir-sh at times, and produced during the golden era of that film genre, this is by no means a pure film noir. Rather, "Tension" is a B-movie version of the melodramas popular at all of the studios during the late 40s. And, certainly, as suggested by other posters, this film has no business being compared to Hitchcock.

Overall, I am pleasantly surprised with the talent, direction, script and locations.

Granted, the whole "Clark-Kent-wearing-glasses-isn't-Superman" form of disguise is ludicrous, but it has always been an accepted modus-operandi for the concept of hidden identities on stage, film and TV. The performances of all of the leads are good - none chew the scenery. Basehart never "got his due" as an actor, as I'm afraid most remember him as the captain on TV's "Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea" in the 60s. Totter is excellent, and while Cyd Charisse is little more than set dressing, she requites herself well.

The techniques of law have certainly changed, as the means of tricking the guilty party in this film is nothing less than entrapment.

And for those of you interested in architecture, that great Deco-ish apartment complex featured in the film is still much the same 55 years later, even down to the vines on the railing. It is located off West Olympic Blvd, just west of Century City (across from Pavilion's, behind hotel). By the way, contrary to what a previous poster states, most of this film takes place in Culver City - only the beach house and apartment complex are "in" Malibu. Being an MGM film, they stuck close to home with locations.

UPDATE: Bad news - that beautiful apt. complex is coming down in 2006. Now THAT is a crime!

Update 2: Jan 2007 - the building is still there.

Update 3: Oct 2008 - they're moving people out by 2010.

Update 4: October 2013 - still there!!


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